Tall Order: EJ Obiena Will Miss World Championships Without PATAFA Endorsement - The Scene

Some obstacles are just too high.

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena’s shot at a podium finish at the World Athletics Indoor Championships will have to step aside for now.

READ ALSO: 21 Filipinos Who Shaped 2021

The 26-year-old must instead watch from the sidelines. This is due to the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association’s (PATAFA) refusal to endorse him.

The world championships will take place from March 18 to 20 in Belgrade, Serbia.

“Registration is now closed. I won’t be attending. I am the only top-ranked vaulter not participating,” Obiena posted on social media.

Although the athlete is in peak physical and mental condition, having qualified for the championships after winning gold in Orlen Cup in Poland last month, PATAFA failed to give him the green light.

Moreover, the association chose not to endorse Obiena for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in May and the Asian Games in September.

Absent Philippines

“I am ready to be the first Philippine HOME-GROWN athlete to compete in the Worlds, and I am ready to compete and bring home a medal. Now is my time; NO, now is our time! But sadly, we will never know,” Obiena wrote.

More than his personal record, he laments how the Philippines will lose its opportunity to have a representative in the global arena.

“Country comes after personal considerations for some. This is more than unfortunate. The nation pays the price.”

Obiena ranks no. 5 in the world. He had just launched his season with good momentum from two gold placements.

More recently, he reset the indoor national record at 5.91 meters in France.

Banner Photo courtesy of Napoli Universiade

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